• Part Number:
  • Part Number Title:
    Discrimination Against Employees Exercising Rights Under the Williams Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
  • Standard Number:
  • Title:
    Filing of complaint for discrimination.
  • GPO Source:

Who may file. A complaint of section 11(c) discrimination may be filed by the employee himself, or by a representative authorized to do so on his behalf.


Nature of filing. No particular form of complaint is required.


Place of filing. Complaint should be filed with the Area Director (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) responsible for enforcement activities in the geographical area where the employee resides or was employed.

Time for filing.

Section 11(c)(2) provides that an employee who believes that he has been discriminated against in violation of section 11(c)(1) “may, within 30 days after such violation occurs,” file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor.


A major purpose of the 30-day period in this provision is to allow the Secretary to decline to entertain complaints which have become stale. Accordingly, complaints not filed within 30 days of an alleged violation will ordinarily be presumed to be untimely.


However, there may be circumstances which would justify tolling of the 30-day period on recognized equitable principles or because of strongly extenuating circumstances, e.g., where the employer has concealed, or misled the employee regarding the grounds for discharge or other adverse action; or where the discrimination is in the nature of a continuing violation. The pendency of grievance-arbitration proceedings or filing with another agency, among others, are circumstances which do not justify tolling the 30-day period. In the absence of circumstances justifying a tolling of the 30-day period, untimely complaints will not be processed.

[38 FR 2681, Jan. 29, 1973, as amended at 50 FR 32846, Aug. 15, 1985]